It’s been a while since we last saw a soundbar from British audio brand Bowers & Wilkins, but they’ve brought back an old name to take a leap into the future with the return of the Panorama soundbar.
The Panorama 3 is designed to get the most from immersive audio soundtracks, an all-in-one solution that B&W says offers “outstanding, room-filling sound with films, TV shows, games and your favourite music.”
It’s Bowers’ first attempt at an Atmos soundbar, and follows on from the previous Panorama efforts. The original model was intended as a no-compromise premium model when it debuted back in 2007. 15 years later and the Panorama 3 looks to do much the same.
Named in tribute to film technologies from the Golden era of Hollywood – Panavision and Cinerama – the new soundbar has a slim and sleek build, measuring in at 65mm high, 140mm deep and 1210mm wide, its dimensions allowing it to be easy to install.
Inside are 13 individual driver units arranged in a 3.1.2 configuration, with the Panorama 3 forgoing the need for an external subwoofer. With true up firing 50mm driver units, the top of the soundbar enclosure has been “carefully angled” to deliver optimal immersive sound. The drivers are assisted by a Dolby Atmos decoder and processor that can also handle Dolby Digital and Dolby TrueHD audio streams when Atmos content isn’t available.
Complementing the up-firing units are forward-firing array of drive units arranged in left, centre, right configuration, each with twin 50mm midrange drivers, and in time honoured B&W tradition, they’re partnered by fully decoupled 19mm titanium-dome tweeters. Backing those up are 100mm subwoofers mounted in what B&W term as a “substantial acoustic volume” that forms much of the enclosure. This is said to offer deep, extended bass.
With a total of 400W of power output, Bowers calls the Panorama 3 one of the most powerful soundbars in its class, with 40W of power delivered to each tweeter, another 40W to each midrange unit pair, 40W to each subwoofer and – you guessed it – 40W to each Atmos drive unit.
If slinging it in front of your TV won’t do, a metal wall bracket is included if there’s a desire to wall-mount. Connectivity has been designed with simplicity in mind with just the one HDMI ARC/eARC to link the Panorama 3 to a TV. An optical digital input is also provided for TVs without HDMI. By the sounds of it, these are the only connection options available…
…at least in terms of physical connections. Wireless support offers AirPlay 2 and aptX Adaptive Bluetooth, with Spotify Connect supported. Through the Bowers & Wilkins Music app, there’s a host of music streaming services to use with Deezer, Last.fm, Qobuz, Soundcloud, TIDAL and TuneIn supported, with more services expected to arrive over the course of 2022.
Like the new Zeppelin wireless speaker, the Panorama 3 comes with built-in Alexa, and has a digital ‘brain’ that can be upgraded over time, with multi-room capability planned to be introduced shortly after launch. That will allow it to talk with other Panoramas, Zeppelins and Formation products in a multi-room environment.
The Panorama 3 goes on sale 3rd March for £899 / $999 / €999 from the Bowers & Wilkins website and select dealers.